If you are struggling with finding the best provolone cheese substitutes for your recipe or dish, look no further than this page.
Sometimes, this Italian cow’s-milk cheese can be a pain in the ass as it is rather scarce. Well, that is because it sells like hot cake and is mostly sold in Italian delis.
And since you can’t let the absence of this cheese ruin your recipes, we have decided to consult some popular Italian chefs for some recommendations.
Flooded with battalions of cheeses, we selected ONLY the ones with the complex, mild-to-strong signature like provolone with a slightly sweet finish.
And trust me, they are all great melting cheeses for maintaining the authenticity and taste of any sandwiches, casseroles, and pizza. Or for adding to a cheese plate, as a snack; grated onto salads, pasta, pizzas, and more.
Table of Contents
What is Provolone Cheese?
Provolone is an Italian semi-soft cheese made from cow’s milk that is used for cooking, grating, as well as desserts.
It is a plastic curd cheese with a mild smoky flavor.
Interestingly, the curd is blended with heated whey, then kneaded to a smooth, semisoft consistency, which is often molded into various shapes.
There are two types of provolone cheeses: Dolce and piccante.
The dolce is made using calf’s rennet, and it’s aged for about 2 to 3 months. It tends to have a mild creamy, and milky flavor.
Provolone piccante, on the other hand, is obtained from goat’s or lamb’s rennet, aged up to three months to a year.
Unlike Dolce, piccante is drier, sharper, and more pungent.
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Best Provolone Cheese Substitutes
1. Low-Moisture Mozzarella Cheese
Number one on our list is the low-moisture mozzarella.
Mozzarella comes in various forms, but we specifically chose the low-Moisture, considering they are the closest you can get to dolce provolone cheese.
They are quite popular and worshipped, just like provolone in many dishes across the globe. Think about it since they are famous; they are very accessible.
Depending on the temperature and how long it’s left to age, it holds various bacteria that make it behave like aged provolone.
This Italian cheese is also semi-hard but made with buffalo milk. Also, it is made by souring fresh Mozzarella a bit more and then carefully drying it out.
Due to its lower moisture, it browns and stretches marvelously well when heated. You can swap it directly in your meals in the same quantity as provolone cheese.
However, when compared to another mozzarella, the low-moisture mozzarella is saltier in flavor and denser.
And do you know mozzarella helps maintain bone structure and protect your tooth enamel?
Mozzarella cheese is a great source of calcium and has a high level of minerals, which helps to support bone strength.
I find this meal essential for the young and old.
2. Fontina Cheese
Fontina cheese is another fantastic Provolone cheese substitute. It is an Italian semi-soft cow cheese with a gentle buttery, nutty flavor, almost like provolone.
Like provolone, it can be used directly in any recipe. However, most people prefer to use it in addition to mozzarella in a pizza.
This creamy cheese also melts well into pasta, soups, chowders, sauces, or topping in any gratin.
One of the fascinating things about the Fontina cheese is it is gluten-free, and most manufacturers don’t add any preservatives.
That said, it’s an excellent source of protein to replace meat. So I always run to fontina cheese whenever I’m looking for ways to reduce my meat consumption.
Among other things, this cheese appears to bear nutritious and potentially bioactive ingredients that are a remedy for constipation, bloating, diarrhea, cramps and generally boost gut and bone health.
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3. Muenster Cheese
If you’re craving an ooey-gooey cheese like provolone, Muenster can satisfy your taste buds.
Muenster or sometimes called Munster, is a semi-soft cheese from the United States. The French version is softer.
Either of it these cheeses will do, but the American version behaves more like provolone in texture, which makes it the best option.
Munster has a creamy, mild flavor that creams any roasted turkey sandwich. Besides, it melts gloriously on a hot, juicy hamburger.
I’d suggest since Munster is low in fat, you should mix it with the Low-moisture Mozzarella to bring more texture as well as bite.
4. Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan cheese is a so-so provolone substitute. Unlike provolone, this Italian cheese has a crumbly hard texture with a distinct salty flavor.
However, it is made with sheep milk aged not too long — just like the dolce provolone cheese. On top of that, it has that provolone nutty taste that adds splendor to any dish —which makes up for its losses.
This cheese is also ideal for grating and topping purposes. I recommend mixing it with more mild cheese.
5. Gouda Cheese
Gouda is a remarkable semi-soft cheese that hails from Netherland. Traditionally made in flat wheels of about 10–12 pounds with cow’s milk, this cheese has a delicious salty taste with a firm texture.
They are one of the world’s most popular cheeses. Pale in color and can be used directly in any dish like provolone.
More so, aged gouda is identical to parmesan in texture. When aged, it develops this crunchy cheese crystal and a more crumbly texture.
In addition, the aged Gouda flavor is reminiscent of butterscotch — it tastes rich, nutty, caramelly.
Both aged and young gouda is delicious and would make an excellent provolone substitute.
6. Edam Cheese
Another fantastic Netherlands cheese is the Edam cheese — a pale yellow semi-hard product sold in flat-ended spheres with a red paraffin wax skin.
This Sweet-curd cheese is made with milk from cows or goats, giving it a smooth semi-hard texture with a light, nutty flavor.
I have seen plenty of cheese experts treat Edam and Gouda the same way, pairing them with cheese fruits like pears and apples or eating them with crackers and bread.
Although the difference between these cheese lies mostly in their fat content.
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7. Emmental Cheese
I have tried countless Swiss cheeses and can assure you nothing beats Emmental — a medium-hard cheese with impressive melting properties.
The aromatic, sweet, and pronounced nutty flavor is what got me hooked. OMG! I love them for cheese fondue.
Aside from that, you can use Emmental for grilled cheese sandwiches, gratins, and casseroles, pasta, along with egg dishes.
The slightly fruity, acidic tone allows you to eat it cold or layered into sandwiches or served on a cheese platter with fruit and nuts.
While it makes a good substitute for provolone cheese, Emmental is best substituted for Cheddar cheese.
8. Gruyère Cheese
Gruyère is another Swiss cheese but hard with a nutty, melty property that makes it great for fondue.
It is quite different from provolone and parmesan in texture, though not too crumbly.
Many people would prefer it for baking, casseroles, soups, gratings, or grated over salads and pasta.
Compared to the glorified Emmental, Gruyère Cheese is even more flavorsome and salty.
Health-wise, Gruyère Cheese enhances metabolism, prevents cancer, and also encourages the bacteria in your gut to make more butyrate.
They are also good for your bones, muscles, and more.
So these are the best provolone substitute you can use whenever you can’t get yours on some provolone.
Mind you; these alternatives bring have various qualities, flavors, as well as textures. Some require collaboration from other cheeses to taste like semi-soft Provolone.
But if you’re rather skeptical and wish not to miss out on the provolone flavors, then I suggest you go for Low-moisture Mozzarella.
They are the closest substitute to Provolone and can be added directly to many dishes.
For more pungent varieties, I would say Gouda, Fontina, and Gruyère Cheese will do the trick.
The whole idea is to try something, to get out of your nutty provolone sanctuary.
Happy experimenting, cheers!
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